Most Americans consider alcohol consumption as a favorite pastime, despite knowing that alcohol abuse and addiction can have a negative impact on their health as well as the society. But when people start consuming an excessive amount of alcohol, within a short period of time, it can have adverse implications on public health and safety.
Nearly 16.3 million American adults aged 18 years and older, comprising 10.6 million men and 5.7 million women, had an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2014, according to a recent report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). But, unfortunately, only 1.5 million adults received the much-needed professional treatment during the same year. Sadly, many people with AUD are in denial about having a problem and never seek treatment for it. When AUD symptoms worsen, people often end up drinking alcohol to fix the problems created by it, which then, takes the shape of a disease that needs treatment.
There are millions in the United States alone who are trapped in the clutches of the socially accepted substance, alcohol, without knowing that drinking heavily can make them vulnerable to serious health problems, destructive behaviors and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, understanding the health hazards and the warnings signs of alcoholism could go a long way in reducing the risk of damage.
Identifying signs of a possible AUD
Though individuals with AUD often deny they have a problem or hide their excessive drinking, one can easily find out if he or she is in trouble by looking for possible symptoms of AUD.
Some of the key symptoms associated with an AUD are:
· Consuming alcohol in larger amounts or regularly over a longer period of time.
· Experiencing continuous failures while trying to limit alcohol consumption.
· Spending excessive amounts of time in efforts to obtain alcohol, drinking or recovering from its effects.
· Experiencing cravings and strong urges to consume alcohol.
· Being unable to fulfill responsibilities at work, school or home.
· Continuing to drink in spite of facing alcohol-induced social or interpersonal problems.
· Neglecting important social, occupational or recreational activities due to drinking.
· Indulging in risky drinking behaviors which may be physically dangerous or hazardous.
· Consuming alcohol despite facing psychological problems likely to be aggravated by alcohol.
· Building up a progressively higher level of tolerance towards alcohol.
AUD is treatable
When dealing with people suffering from alcoholism, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. What may work for one person may not be a good solution for another. What is important is to understand the different options. Some of the treatment options include:
Behavioral Treatments: Treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), are aimed at identifying the underlying causes and changing thinking patterns through counseling in order to:
· develop the skills required to reduce drinking
· build a strong social support system
· strive to set reachable goals
· manage the triggers that might cause a relapse
Medications: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the following three medications for treating alcohol use disorder:
· Naltrexone, which helps to reduce heavy drinking
· Acamprosate, which makes it easier to abstain from alcohol
· Disulfiram, which blocks the metabolism of alcohol in the body
Mutual support groups: Combined with professional treatment, mutual-support groups can offer a valuable added layer of support and a platform for like-minded individuals to share their worries and concerns, and encourage each other to stay sober.
Seeking professional help
If you or your loved one is afflicted with drinking problems, you may get in touch with the 24/7 Alcohol Abuse Help for more information on alcohol abuse treatment centers in the U.S. Alternately, you may also contact our 24/7 alcohol abuse helpline number at 866–480–6873 to know about the best alcohol addiction treatment facilities in your vicinity.